Traders call for action to keep drunks away

ANGRY traders have called for greater security to deter drunken revellers who use their shopfronts as toilets.

Staff at businesses in Stamford’s lanes regularly arrive at work to find vomit, urine and discarded takeaway food in their doorways and graffiti daubed on walls. In many cases they are forced to clean up the mess themselves.

Some shops have had their windows broken and owners fear their customers’ safety is at risk.

Christine Abbott, who runs The Children’s Garden day nursery in Silver Lane, is worried children may hurt themselves.

She said: “We frequently have to deal with broken glass, food, blood and vomit outside the nursery.

“The children all get very excited coming to the nursery in the morning so they run down the alley, and we have already had one boy cut his hand on some broken glass. I’m very concerned for our children’s safety.

“I don’t blame Central nightclub for the problem, they do enough to help, but we do need a street cleaner in the lanes in the morning and better security at night.”

Andy Stretton, who owns Stamford Photo Express in Red Lion Street, thinks this kind of drunken behaviour is unacceptable.

He said: “Sometimes I feel like we might as well be living in medieval times, with some of the behaviour that goes on. It’s become socially acceptable.

“I had someone fall through my window, and someone try and urinate through my door. This isn’t something that just happens at the weekend. I don’t understand what goes through people’s minds.”

Julie Gibbons, the owner of Lunch Buns in Wellington Lane, said: “I don’t want to start my day cleaning up vomit but I am forced to do it for the sake of my business. We sell food and customers don’t want to be stepping round sick before they buy their sandwiches. It’s worse in summer because of the smell, which lingers all day.”

Helen Fox, of Mummy and Me in nearby Wellington Lane, had a shop window smashed two weeks ago. She said: “Most mornings I have to deal with puddles of sick and even worse outside my business. I shouldn’t have to clean it up.

“It’s a real shame because people come to Stamford to see the lanes, they add to the town’s charm. When they are left in this state, it puts people off.”

Traders have called on South Kesteven District Council to improve cleaning in the lanes, install security cameras and even gate them off at night to deter drunken yobs.

The council has since promised Miss Fox it will clean graffiti from a wall near her shop. A council spokesman added: “The lanes in Stamford will continue to be cleaned each day as part of a cleaning programme which runs seven days a week.

“CCTV cameras cover the streets at the top and bottom of both Silver Lane and Wellington Lane and are monitored by our CCTV team 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Our community safety team has had no complaints of anti-social behaviour from traders in the area.

South Kesteven sector inspector Gary Stewart said: “We have a normal police presence in Broad Street and around Central nightclub every club night.

“If the council or the traders want to put a camera up or gate off Wellington Lane the police would be fully supportive. There is no need for people to use the lane at night.

“Anything that prevents this kind of behaviour is a good thing.”